Thesis Info

Thesis Title
The Ear of the Beholder: Ecology, Embodiment and Complexity in Sound Installation
Dr Tom Davis
2nd Author
3rd Author
Number of Pages
Queen's University, Belfast.
Thesis Supervisor
Dr Pedro Rebelo
Supervisor e-mail
Other Supervisor(s)
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Sonic Arts
Languages Familiar to Author
URL where full thesis can be found
Complexity, Embodiment, Ecology, Sonic Art, Sound Installation, Enaction
Abstract: 200-500 words
This thesis presents a body of practice and theory based work, based on a study of an application of models from Complexity Theory to music creation, with a focus on Artificial Life inspired techniques applied as musical processes. It identifies two important issues that are subsequently explored through the creation of sound installations. Firstly, issues pertaining to the employment of models from the field of Complexity Theory for the creation of music; a concern with transference of metaphor, a regrounding of referents in the specificity of music. Secondly, through a discussion of the employment of process in music it identifies a need to employ generative techniques that are more open in their nature, both on a structural and an interpretive level. It thus proposes a conception of process that is open in an ecological sense, in which a level of agency is prescribed to the technological agents that construct the installations, their environmental context and the human interactants within this context. It outlines a body of sound installations that exploit a concept of emergent musical structures as a process of timely perception, rather than fixed objects of empirical observation. In this conception, aesthetic meaning came forth not through the transitivity of the object but through the process of conjoined action between agents, the environment and the human interactant. This thesis formulates an understanding of sound installation as a situated and timely act that is best understood from an embodied, ecological perspective and develops a conception of engagement that is contingent on space, place and personal subjective experience. It outlines strategies that were developed through the process of creative practice for the creation and perception of complexity that exploit notions of embodiment within installation design.